Originally made with either goat or sheep milk, Paneer was first created in the Persian and Afghan regions of Northern India. Paneer is often seen in Indian meals but is a flexible cheese that pairs well with so many different flavors and cuisines. This neutral, non-melting cheese is a great vegetarian option for anyone who appreciates rich milky flavors. Paneer is often similarly compared to cottage cheese but has some distinct differences that we’ll map out here.
We love paneer because it’s a nutritious and healthy ingredient that adds healthy fats, packs protein, and leaves you full for longer periods. Whether you’re eating it by itself, or cooking an extravagant meal, paneer is a needed addition to your home kitchen menu.
History & Culture
Paneer’s history is unique. While other Asian countries omit cheeses from their diets, India has had Paneer as a part of its cuisine for centuries. This is no surprise considering the popularity of cattle farming throughout the country.
The word Paneer is rooted in the Indian and Persian word peynir which means cheese. Afghan and Persian communities likely introduced the cheese to North India in the late 16th century. Modernization of the cheese — which is the process of “breaking” the milk with an acid like lemon juice—likely came from the Portuguese in the 17th century.
Fast forward to today and Paneer is widely used with either cow or buffalo milk and is a prominent feature in dishes through the North India region and surrounding countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh.
How It’s Made
This soft cheese is actually quite easy to make. A big reason why we here at Sach decided to make our own Paneer was that we couldn’t find organic, delicious, and fresh options in our local grocery stores. So we decided to venture out and make our own fresh, sustainable Paneer cheese.
Fresh, quality Paneer is made by using milk—we use grass-fed cow’s milk—heating it up to boiling temperatures and added acid to break the curdled milk proteins. Acids can be lemon or lime juice. Then it’s strained through a cheesecloth and pressed to remove any liquid. We also add some fun flavors like Tumeric Twist and Habanero to add a bit of spice to the neutral base.
Many don’t know just how nutritious Paneer actually is. It’s a great source of protein—especially for those with vegetarian diets. It’s also choked filled with healthy fats and a number of nutrients.
Fats & Proteins
For every ounce of Paneer cheese, there are 7g of protein, which keeps you feeling full longer. You’ll also find a healthy source of Omega-3s and healthy saturated fats that are proven to lower your LDL, also known as that pesky bad cholesterol.
Vitamins & Nutrients
Paneer contains calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus; and together with vitamin-D, Paneer provides sufficient nutrients available for bone growth, especially in children.
Low-Lactose Gluten-Free Cheese
Another fun fact about this versatile cheese is its low-lactose count. Unlike other cheeses, the lactose is broken down significantly during the curdling process, which results in a much more digestible lactic acid. Making this a favorite cheese among those who have lactose intolerance and sensitivities.
Like other dairy cheeses, Paneer is also gluten-free, adding to the list of healthy foods approved for those with gluten allergies.
A Guide to Cooking With Paneer
Because of its soft texture and non-melting properties, Paneer does well with all types of cooking methods. Like other cheese, you can grate and crumble it, but you can also fry it and grill it while it still holds its texture. This makes it a versatile ingredient and can be explored in a lot of different creative ways.
Many people think Paneer and cottage cheese are the same, while they share some traits there are some differences, namely that cottage cheese is often salted and has heavy cream added to it. This makes cottage cheese a subpar choice for those with lactose intolerance and salt sensitivities.
While it originated in North India, Paneer has grown to be a flexible cheese in a lot of cuisines and dishes. Check out some of these delicious, non-traditional ways to use Paneer. Whether you’re frying, grilling, baking, or eating it plain, paneer is a delightful addition to so many meals.
- Grilled Paneer Skewers with Mango Ginger Sauce
- Crispy Paneer-Potato Burgers
- Sheet Pan Roasted Paneer with Veggies and Avocado Lime Crème Fraîche
- Habanero Paneer Fries
- Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Brown Butter roasted Paneer & Crispy Sage
Keto-Friendly, Gluten-Free, and Vegetarian
Each serving of Sach Paneer only contains 1g of carbs and tons of protein! Making it a perfect option for the Keto and Gluten-Free diets. And unlike many other kinds of cheese, Paneer doesn’t use bacteria to ferment and ripen, so it’s completely vegetarian-friendly as well.
Sach’s Approach and Our Difference
We knew that good Paneer cheese meant creating fresh, organic, and sustainable products. Our Paneer cheese is smooth, delicious, and always ethically sourced. We’re the first in the world to deliver artisanal flavored Paneer, and we’re in multiple locations throughout the United States.
We truly believe that protecting our planet and its resources is not separate from keeping our bodies nourished and healthy. We were determined to create a product that can do good for both our environment and your body. Our Paneer is always made from grass-fed, open-pasture dairy and is certified fair-trade organic. We always use sustainable packaging, because protecting the planet goes beyond ethically sourced ingredients.